UN warns of ‘catastrophe’ as 160,000 flee southern Syria push

Source: Al Jazeera News

The United Nations has warned of a looming “catastrophe” in southern Syria, as it raised the number of people fleeing a fierce government offensive aimed at retaking rebel-held areas to 160,000.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN’s high Commissioner for human rights, said in a statement on Friday that there was a “grave risk that intensified fighting will see many civilians trapped”, condemning “[how] civilians in Syria continue to be used as pawns by the various parties”.

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Launched on June 19, the Syrian government’s military push is intended to recapture the southern provinces of Deraa, Quneitra and parts of Sweida, still mostly held by opposition fighters.

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